In the first 24 hours after his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate, LGBT (Lesbian, “Gay,” Bisexual and Transgender) advocacy groups have declared war on Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, targeting him as a villain.
But by doing so, LGBT activists risk putting a spotlight on controversial issues high on the cultural agenda of the political left, including same-sex marriage and open LGBT behavior in the military, issues that might not fly in more socially conservative parts of the nation, including some swing states.
The Human Rights Coalition produced one of the most graphic attacks (above), summarizing the LGBT political opposition to Ryan.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a political action arm of the group founded by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, leveled a similar political attack against Ryan, charging he “has a voting record to reflect every anti-LGBT position that Romney has taken.”
Here is the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s recap of Ryan’s voting record taken word-for-word from the group’s website, as posted on Aug. 13 following Romney’s decision to pick Ryan as his running mate:
- “Banning state-level same-sex marriage. Just as Romney opposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Ryan supported the 2006 ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin.
- “Supporting a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Romney has promised to campaign on a federal marriage amendment, but Ryan has already voted for one – twice, in 2004 and in 2006.
- “Defending discrimination against same-sex couples. President Obama announced last year he would no longer defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, a decision Romney has characterized as ‘an assault on religion.’ Ryan voted to limit funding to the Justice Department that might be used to oppose DOMA by the Obama administration.
- “Opposing federal non-discrimination projections. Romney believes that states should get to decide whether LGBT people are protected from employment discrimination, and similarly, Ryan voted to kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, though he ultimately voted for it. His refusal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in his congressional office’s nondiscrimination policy demonstrates where he stands.
- “Opposing repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Though Romney said he would not reinstate the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, he did oppose repealing it until ‘conflict was over’ (i.e. the never-ending ‘War on Terror’). In 2010, Ryan voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
- “Opposing hate crimes protections. Just as Romney vetoed a bill funding hate crimes prevention in Massachusetts in 2003, Ryan voted against expanding the federal hate crimes law to protect the LGBT community.”
ThinkProgress.org concluded its opposition to Ryan by noting Ryan “is perhaps best known for his budget, and that too would devastate LGBT families by eliminating many of the public services they depend upon because of the economic inequalities they face.”
By selecting Ryan, ThinkProgress.org argued, “Romney is guaranteeing his commitment to rolling back much of the progress the LGBT community has achieved over the past two decades.”
LGBT doubles-down on sexual agenda
By attacking Romney and now Ryan on issues such as same-sex marriage, Democratic Party strategists and the elite, including the mainstream media supporting Obama’s re-election, are betting the tide in public opinion has turned so that most Americans now back same-sex marriage.
While the LGBT agenda is a winning strategy in states like California and New York, states where voters are already likely to vote for Obama’s re-election, the evidence is not nearly so clear in pivotal “must-win” swing states, including Ohio and North Carolina, or among key voting constituencies including the African-American community.
In May, voters in North Carolina voted against a same-sex amendment to the state constitution by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.
Following the defeat of the same-sex amendment in North Carolina, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, went so far as to predict, “Obama’s embrace of same-sex marriage will help ensure he becomes a one-term president, and his political demise will begin with North Carolina.”
Political commentator Michael Barone, a supporter of same-sex marriage, observed following the North Carolina vote, “By saying he was still against same-sex marriage but was ‘evolving’ on the issue, Obama sought to avoid riling black voters while giving a wink to young voters hinting he shared their view.”
Today, Florida remains one of 31 states where voters have maintained a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Democrats also face a risky strategy pushing the LGBT agenda in the black community, with the Obama campaign counting on a strong African-American turnout and winning as much as 96 percent of the vote.
When Obama openly came out for same-sex marriage following the North Carolina vote, Howard Goodman of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting noted that, according to Public Policy Polling, 53 percent of Floridians continue to oppose same-sex marriage and only 37 percent support it.
Obama’s openly “gay” faculty adviser at Occidental College, Lawrence Goldyn, who taught the future president in a European politics class, was cautious when Obama stopped “evolving” and endorsed same-sex marriage without reservation.
“I think it’s very brave in a way because he risks of course alienating some right-wing people who might otherwise stayed out of the election,” Goldyn commented about Obama’s decision to come out for same-sex marriage. “I think it’s probably a cynical calculation he made, but he’s a smart politician and I don’t blame him for that.”